Hundreds of guests gathered last night for the first Asian Media Awards, amid a glittering ceremony at the Hilton Deansgate, Manchester.
These landmark awards recognised both the current and future stars of the UK Asian media industry. Among those to receive an honour was Jimmi Harkishin, who has played the part of Dev Alahan in Coronation Street since 1999, making him the longest-running actor in an Asian role on British television.
Jimmi was handed the Sophiya Haque Award for Services to British Television, a category named in tribute to the late Coronation Street actress, who died of cancer earlier this year, aged 41.
The talented actress starred in the popular soap as barmaid Poppy Morales. She also featured in a number of West End shows included Bombay Dreams, The Far Pavilions and Wah! Wah! Girls.
Jimmi says: “These awards are a fantastic celebration of being Asian and long may this continue. It’s a great honour to receive this award and I feel very privileged to be able to act and do what I love on a day-to-day basis.”
Jamila Massey, one of the first Asian actresses to ever appear on British TV in 1960, received the Outstanding Contribution Award. She has appeared in Eastenders, The Bill and Minder and has also featured on well-loved radio programme The Archers.
She says: “This is my first acting award and I’m thrilled, it’s just beyond belief. Times have changed so much compared to when I started out. Parts for ethnic minorities were usually that of servants and contained only a couple of lines. I was persistent and gradually times changed and I’m pleased to say it paid off.